On Wednesday afternoon, a group of people drove up to Ripon Buildings in an autorickshaw, forced an elderly male passenger out, and sped away. The man, who was later rescued by emergency personnel from the 108 service, is believed to be a German national, going by documents he possessed.
The incident, Chennai Corporation staff members and local shopkeepers said, is not the first of its kind.
When the emergency personnel and police arrived 30 minutes after the autorickshaw had left, they also found an old woman, a few feet away from the abandoned man, who said she’d had a similar experience.
The woman said she had been brought there a day ago in an autorickshaw, and dumped. “A few days ago, another injured old man was abandoned on the road a few metres from the eastern gate of Ripon Buildings. We phoned the 108 helpline. They took him away,” said a security guard at Ripon Buildings.
Locals said they suspected an organisation was abandoning senior citizens near the building, relying on Corporation officials and residents nearby to rescue them.
The elderly German man was soon surrounded by a crowd. He was unable to get up. He had a minor injury on his forehead and a fever.
When ambulance personnel tried to administer first aid, he uttered a few unintelligible words.
A few minutes later, he resisted first aid. The medics, with the support of bystanders, then carried him into the ambulance to take him to a hospital.
After the man was taken away, bystanders searched his bag and found a few papers, which they handed over to the police. Attention then shifted to the elderly woman, who complained of hunger.
However, when someone offered to buy her lunch, she declined. “I had a dosa in the morning,” she said. The woman said she was a resident of Kancheepuram and that her daughter lived in Porur.
However, her answers lacked coherence and the police asked her to leave the area. “We see a number of such elderly persons brought to this locality by unidentified persons. They remain here for a few days, subsist on food offered by shopkeepers, and then disappear,” said Alex, a shopkeeper near Lily Pond Shopping Complex.
“There were at least two persons in the autorickshaw. But I do not remember their faces,” said a labourer who saw the autorickshaw around 2 p.m.
“Ripon Buildings should have a CCTV camera mounted on every gate. This will help us trace such vehicles,” said a Corporation employee.